Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Harold (Hal) J. Sommer, SJ, who died on February 14, 2015, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. He was 88 years old. May he rest in peace.
Hal was born on December 19, 1926, in Portsmouth, Ohio. He was in the United States Army from 1945 to 1947, and obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Detroit (1952) and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Ann Arbor (1955). He was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Dayton (1955-1957).
Hal entered the Society of Jesus on August 8, 1957, at Milford Novitiate in Milford, Ohio. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1965, in Montreal, Canada, and professed final vows on August 15, 1970, at the provincial residence in Oak Park, Ill.
While in the Society, Hal obtained a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (1963) and masters' degrees in philosophy (1964) and theology (1968) from the Collège de L' Immaculée Conception in Montreal, Canada. He obtained an M.S.E.H.E. from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. (1975) and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the School of Applied Theology at Berkeley, Calif.(1986).
Hal spent his time as a Jesuit teaching, consulting, and doing pastoral ministry. He was a physics teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis (1967-1969) and an instructor in aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame (1969-1971). He was a graduate student in physics and a part-time instructor and teaching assistant at Notre Dame (1971-1981). Hal was also a consulting engineer in Indiana (1977-1983) and Cincinnati (1981-1985). After completing graduate studies at the School of Applied Theology at Berkeley, he was a retreat director at the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford in Ohio (1986-1991). In addition, he offered pastoral ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Milford (1991-1994), and in the Cincinnati area (1994-2011). Hal moved to Colombiere Center in 2011, where he prayed for the Church and Society.